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Saturday, December 3, 2022

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Horrifying Condition of Political Prisoners – Coronavirus is Here

Islamic Republic regime has a long 41 years history of taking hostages to accomplish what it wants. To oppress its opposition, to scare off foreign powers, or to exchange the foreigner prisoners for money or other incentives. They have arrested and detained more than 7000 innocent people from protests in November. A few days ago, 3 of them were sentenced to death to induce fear into the public, to remind them what they’d get if they rise against the establishment. Nowadays, with the Coronavirus outbreak in Iran being the focus of news, everybody seems to have forgotten about these detainees.

Political detainees are in the worst conditions in Islamic Republic’s jail cells. They are tortured every day, forced to confess and ultimately given harsh sentences including death! The medical care is almost nonexistent and most of them end up doing a period of hunger strike for several days in protest of their horrifying situation. The cells are overcrowded, some with 8 people in a single one. Now imagine Coronavirus

According to Human Rights Activists News Agency, COVID-19 has reached the prisons and political prisoners, including foreigners, are at risk of losing their lives. Amir Hossein Moradi (positive Coronavirus test), Saeid Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi (the 3 who are sentenced to death), Milad Arsanjani, Milad Ghahramani, and 15 other prisoners at Greater Tehran Prison were transferred to another section of the prison (Suite No.11, Brigade 1). The separation of crimes law isn’t followed and they are kept in close proximity of hardcore drug and murderous criminals. That section is where another political prisoner, Alireza Shirmohammad Ali, was assassinated with multiple stabs by two drug criminals in June 2019.

Seven other prisoners who are suspected of COVID-19 are being held in prison’s clinic without being tested or sent to a proper healthcare center.

Mohammad Ghanbardoost, a Sunni political prisoner being held in Orumiyeh prison, was transferred to the clinic and to a hospital outside prison due to his bad physical condition on March 2. He’s suspected of having COVID-19. He was arrested on August 16 2017 on the charge of “cooperation with takfiri groups”. Another prisoner who was in a hospital outside the prison for cardiac issues, died of Coronavirus, although the officials claim he contracted the disease in the hospital, opposite of what his family says.

2 people with drug offenses are tested positive in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj. They are quarantined in prison’s clinic, but they were held in a section with 500 other prisoners! It is worth mentioning, just like other prisons in the country, no mask or disinfectant solution has been given to prisoners.

A person with financial crimes has been tested positive in Evin prison. He was held with some political prisoners. He’s been transferred to an unknown location.

Political prisoners are on hunger strike, making their immune system weak and their bodies susceptible to the disease, and higher risk of death. There are reports of other cases in Khoramabad, Gorgan, Sanandaj, Qom,…

Despite the directive issued by the head of Judiciary branch to give prisoners with less than 5 years sentence to be given leave of absence, political prisoners’ requests are not processed as they should. Very few, such as Shahnaz Akmali who was in prison to spend her 1 year sentence, were let go for now. She is mother of Mustafa Karimbeigi, a 26-year-old peaceful protester who was killed as part of Green movement in 2009.

Some activists believe the regime is trying to rid of its opposition by infecting them intentionally. Considering IR’s history, this theory is not that too far fetched.

Let’s not forget about the foreign prisoners, such as Briton Nazanin Ratcliffe who is spending her prison term in Evin. Her husband said he’s worried she might have contracted the virus. There are three other British citizens in the regime’s prisons. There are Americans, Australians and other nationalities there too.

Human rights organizations and WHO need to inspect prisons across the country and prevent another humanitarian crisis under Islamic Republic regime.

Arezou Saaberi
Arezou Saaberi
There comes a time in life when you have to choose whether to turn the page or to close the book!